We all know that head injuries can be sustained anywhere at anytime, obviously concussions occur at a higher rate in sports. Non “mainstream” sports in America have their share of concussions as well, in fact sports like soccer, rugby and woman’s hockey have an extremely high incidence rate of concussions. Perhaps some of the professional players in the more “recognized” sports can take a clue from a professional soccer player.
After Tyler Twellman has his career soccer career cut short by reoccurring symptoms of concussions other players are starting to realize there is more to life than soccer. Take for example Chad Marshall, of the Columbus Crew;
The next head injury Chad Marshall suffers could be the last of the hulking Crew defender’s Major League Soccer career.Marshall is expected to play tonight in an exhibition game against New England after missing time because of concussion-like symptoms following a head injury on Feb. 21. He said the end is possible every time he takes a blow to the head.
“Every time I get hit in the head or kicked in the face, my mind immediately goes there,” said Marshall, who has suffered from concussion-like symptoms following head injuries at least seven times in his playing career. “It would be tough to hear someone say I had to stop. But I’m someone who wants to go on and have a family and be able to play with my children without having to stop and go sit down.”
With soccer, and especially as a defender the chances of sustaining a head injury are pretty good. Granted there is not “full contact” but with players leaving their feet to attack a ball or using their head to clear the ball the brain case can and will be jarred frequently. Avoiding these situations is not an option on the pitch, as it is an inherent part of the game, and makes the risks great.
With any athlete the hardest part of dealing with a concussion is the stigma that you can play through a “headache”, or that because the injury is “invisible” they feel the need to continue to play. This, in my opinion, is why we are seeing injuries last longer and end careers. If the initial concussions are handled correctly from the beginning the chance of a “stacking effect” is greatly reduced and may extend playing time for some athletes.
It is refreshing to see a professional, young at that, athlete think about his future and life going forward, long after his playing days are over.